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4 Habits putting your small business at cybersecurity risk

This report, based on Cyber Wardens research conducted in January 2024, reveals alarmingly common everyday habits exposing small businesses to cyber attacks. With almost 80% of owners observing risky practices within their teams, a proactive approach to cyber hygiene is crucial.

Key Findings:

  • Poor password management: Nearly 20% keep passwords written down, and almost 25% share them with colleagues.
  • Vulnerable endpoints: Over 27% put computers in sleep mode instead of shutting down, delaying crucial software updates.
  • Unwise communication: One in ten out-of-office messages disclose personal details, potentially aiding phishing attempts.
  • Employee awareness varies: Millennials, larger teams, and women owners were more likely to identify bad habits.

Recommendations:

  • Implement Cyber Warden training to empower employees to spot and report risky behavior.
  • Promote good habits like strong passwords, shutdowns for updates, and secure out-of-office messages.
  • Utilize multi-factor authentication and password managers for enhanced security.
  • Regularly back up data to facilitate swift recovery from attacks.

Actionable Insights:

Small businesses can minimize cyber risks by:

  • Prioritizing cyber hygiene awareness among all team members.
  • Adopting secure password practices and leveraging password managers.
  • Implementing out-of-office message guidelines to avoid vulnerability.
  • Investing in multi-factor authentication and data backup solutions.
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By addressing these key areas, small businesses can significantly reduce their cyber risk and ensure a more secure operating environment.

5 Good Habits to Keep Your Small Business Safe from Cyber Attacks

Habit Description Risks of not doing it Benefits of doing it
Shut down computers Instead of sleep mode, shut down computers daily. Outdated software vulnerabilities become accessible to hackers. Automatic software updates install, enhancing protection.
Use strong passphrases Create unique, long, and original passphrases for every account. Password reuse and short passwords lead to compromised accounts. Prevents access to multiple accounts if one is cracked.
Report suspicious emails Share potentially dangerous emails with IT or management instead of deleting them. Missed scams leave others vulnerable and prevent investigation. Enables blocking senders, warning staff, and reporting scams.
Provide unique logins Assign individual logins to each team member. Shared passwords expose multiple accounts if one is compromised. Enhances protection from insider threats and compromises.
Install updates promptly Don’t delay, prioritize and install software updates as soon as possible. Security vulnerabilities remain exploitable if updates are ignored. Delivers bug fixes and security patches for fast protection.
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